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Why are LGBTI people calling for a Coachella boycott?

Why are LGBTI people calling for a Coachella boycott?

Janelle Monae, SOPHIE and Jaden Smith

Coachella starts today (12 April) in Indio, California, but not everyone seems excited at the much-anticipated indie rock festival.

And no, it’s not only because of the multitude of pictures of Indian American cultural appropriative outfits, floral crowns and glamping shots that will soon flood our Instagram feeds.

There is yet another reason behind some LGBTI people’s call to boycott the first big event of the festival season.

Coachella owner donated to anti-LGBTI groups

In 2016, the Washington Post broke the news that the festival was problematic well beyond entitled young people sleeping in a teepee.

The Freedom for All Americans campaign revealed that Philip Anschutz – the billionaire behind entertainment conglomerate AEG which controls Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival – had donated to three conservative, Christian organizations known for their pro-gun and anti-LGBTI views.

Want some figures?

Between 2011 and 2013, Anschutz Foundation gave $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom, $50,000 to National Christian Foundation, and $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013.

More recently, Anschutz donated $134,400 to Republicans in 2018.

And the incredibly expensive Coachella tickets contributed to the funding of these organizations.

Ariana Grande will headline this year

Notably, the festival boasts amazing line-ups with ‘woke’ artists such as Beyoncé, who headlined in 2018. Throughout the years, many other LGBTI artists and allies have secured slots in the music festival, such as Lady Gaga, Sia, The XX, and Cardi B.

The line-up this year features LGBTI ally Ariana Grande, pansexual artists Janelle Monae and Christine and The Queens, to name but a few.

As the festival starts, many are urging Coachella enthusiasts and celebrity supporters to consider Anschutz’s donations.

In the past, celebrities such as Cara Delevingne joined the boycott.

The model, who’s openly bisexual, praised Beyoncé’s performance last year, while still condemning Anschultz. Calling out by fans, she said she was ‘allowed to shame that man and the festival and still show my appreciation of an artist at the same time’.

‘Fake news’

However, Anschutz distanced themselves from the organizations upon discovery of their anti-LGBTI views, calling the media reports ‘nothing more than fake news’.

Coachella’s co-founder Paul Tollett told The New Yorker at the time he was ‘offended’ by the headlines that were circulating.

As of last year, Anschutz released a statement explaining he supports LGBTI rights.

‘I regret if any money given to a charity for other purposes may have worked against these values,’ he said.

See also

The cast of Pose among this year’s New York City Pride Grand Marshals

Inside The Dinah Shore, the wildest festival for lesbian and bi women

Julia Roberts stands strong with LGBTI youth by being totally silent